The internet is full of good stuff on how to do, and not do, PowerPoint. The VERY best thing to do is avoid it altogether.
Whatever you do, your chances of being good diminish with every slide you add, every transition, every bulletpoint. It is too dangerous, and only sheer geniuses can do anything even approaching mediocre with it.
In short, PowerPoint is for amateurs. Someone hoves up and fires up their slides, they’re an amateur. You can stop paying attention, because they did the moment they thought that presentation is just another word for PowerPoint. It is for people to hide behind because they’re too afraid of speaking to people.
This is a systemsy blog, so I know this is a systemsy issue, not something located in individuals. But unlike the design and management of work, it is something in the control of most people who have to “do a presentation”. If you are one of those people, my advice is this.
Turn off PowerPoint. The purpose of PowerPoint is to make a PowerPoint set of slides. You will be sucked into the problem of making a set of slides. This is never anybody’s problem.
Turn off PowerPoint. It is the sign of the amateur.
Don’t worry because you should….
I know, it’s hard, you think you are, but you are probably not fantastic.
But the VERY MOMENT you realise you are not, that’s when you will be able to do a decent presentation.
Look at this man who thinks he is the “prize stallion”, his job is to sell and pitch, he thinks he is fantastic and looks what happens to him….
When I realised that I didn’t have to pretend to know everything was the moment I relaxed and enjoyed doing presentations. Most people think you have to be the expert, which is why you are standing up at the front. This man here skewers this…
Poor speakers create an artificial divide between themselves and the audience. They feel they need to do this in order to establish their own credibility.
Let me tell you – there is no such thing as credibility. In 100 years there will be no buildings named after any of us.
Somebody has to be on stage and some people have to be in the audience. That’s the only difference.
Don’t put any thought as to WHY you are on the stage or how you need to be “better” than the people in the audience. You aren’t better. You’re simply the speaker.
If you think you have to know everything, so that you don’t look a fool, then you WILL look a fool.
Instead be confident in your stupidity and you’ll be almost awesome.
But to get actually awesome, you have to….
Q: What have all these got in common?
A: They all speak brilliantly to people.
More importantly, they never spoke to THE ROOM. Watch a rubbish presenter, they speak to the room. They look into the middle distance, or do that thing they’ve learnt of gazing rapidly from person to person, picking individuals and stating their bit before moving on.
They’re not actually speaking to anybody, it’s a trick. They’re speaking to the room. When they speak to the room they are speaking to four walls, a door, some carpet. And it shows.
Speaking to a person means you don’t read off a card, you don’t speak in paragraphs, you don’t recite techie facts at them.
Speaking to a person means you might be telling them something that happened to you, a story they might find interesting.
Speaking to a person might even be a conversation where you listen to them…
There’s loads of tricks and hints and tips about presentations, but they all boil down to this one.
Don’t speak to the room, speak to the people in the room. Keep that in mind, and everything flows from there.